The Beach in Autumn – Cala de San Pedro

Looking down on San Pedro today

Looking down on San Pedro today

The fine autumn weather continues so today we visited San Pedro.

Looking inland from where we park

Looking inland from where we park

As usual, we drove up the Rambla de las Aguillas and parked where the footpath begins. As you can see from the photo above, the countryside is so much greener now. This is not just a result of the storms a fortnight ago. Overnight condensation moistens the ground before the sun dries it out again.

The cliff path to San Pedro

The cliff path to San Pedro

The recent storms have done some damage to the cliff path so we had to take care descending to the cove.

The beach at San Pedro

The beach at San Pedro

The beach is much quieter now than in summer but, being Sunday, there were quite a few people enjoying the warm weather.

Sign on the beach

Sign on the beach

We have noticed that, this year, San Pedro has seemed much cleaner. This may be because the small hippy population have dug some chemical lavatories and erected notices like this one.

The beach

The beach

A colorful composition behind the beach

A colorful composition behind the beach

Although we have featured San Pedro many times on this blog there are always interesting subjects for photography.

Sunlight sparkling on the sea

Sunlight sparkling on the sea

The light is also different every time one visits. Today the soft autumn sunlight sparkling on the sea was particularly beautiful.

The fort and palms overlooking the beach

The fort and palms overlooking the beach

Hope you like the photos.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Beach in Autumn – Cala de Enmedio

The beach at Cala de Enmedio

The beach at Cala de Enmedio

Today we visited Cala de Enmedio. This beautiful beach can be reached by driving down a 7km unmade track off the Fernan Perez – Agua Amarga road to Cala del Plomo and then a twenty minute walk along a footpath.

Looking up the valley from the beginning of the footpath to Cal de Enmedio

Looking up the valley from the beginning of the footpath to Cal de Enmedio

The landscape is much greener now and once again we saw Urginea maritime with its white flowers.

Viola arborescens

Viola arborescens

Along the path again we found clumps of Viola arborescens.

Walkers on the path

Walkers on the path

Although it was quiet, there were a few other walkers heading for the beach to enjoy the autumn sunshine.

Cala de Enmedio

Cala de Enmedio

The water was crystal clear and still warm enough for a leisurely swim.

The north end of the beach

The north end of the beach

One of the striking features of Cala de Enmedio are the white cliffs at each end of the beach.

Cliffs at the south end of the beach

Cliffs at the south end of the beach

These have been eroded into fascinating shapes and make for interesting photographs.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Beach in Autumn – Las Negras to El Playazo

Las Negras this morning

Las Negras this morning

The beaches on this blog can all be reached from walking south of Las Negras. We set off this morning from the village following the coastal path.

Viola arborescens

Viola arborescens

We mentioned on an earlier blog this week the wild flower, Viola arborescens but did not include a photo. Bushy clusters of it are now in flower all along the coastal path.

Cala del Cuervo

Cala del Cuervo

The first beach south of Las Negras is Cala del Cuervo. There is a camp site behind this beach so it is usually busy in summer but today there were few people there.

Scilla obtusifolia

Scilla obtusifolia

Walking up the cliff path we found another example of the autumnal squill, Scilla obtusifolia.

View from the coastal path

View from the coastal path

The coastal scenery along this walk is stunning and today there was hardly any wind, so the Mediterranean was calm and clear.

The cove beneath the castle

The cove beneath the castle

The next beach is this little cove beneath the castle, Bateria de San Ramon.

Margaret and Blanquita looking at fish in a rock pool

Margaret and Blanquita looking at fish in a rock pool

Finally we arrived at El Playazo and walked to the end of the beach.

El Playazo de Rodalquilar

El Playazo de Rodalquilar

The wispy cloud of the morning soon dispersed leaving a clear blue sky.

Fossilized dunes behind a little creek by El Playazo

Fossilized dunes behind a little creek by El Playazo

We like the far end of El Playazo and stopped for a picnic, swim and rest. The rocks here are fascinating as you can see from the photo above.

Looking down on El Valle from the mountain pass

Looking down on El Valle from the mountain pass

We did not return along the coast. Instead we walked up El Valle de Rodalquilar and along a track cutting through the mountains back to Las Negras.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Beach in Autumn – Playa de los Genoveses

Playa de los Genoveses today

Playa de los Genoveses today

Autumn is a great time of year for spending time on the beautiful beaches of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata. Summer crowds have gone, leaving the beaches almost empty, the sea is still warm enough for swimming and the weather. Like today, usually fine and sunny. We headed for Playa de Los Genoveses next to San José.

The mill and black wheatear

The mill and black wheatear

We parked at the edge of the village near the old, restored windmill. Here, a black wheatear was sitting on the ruin next to the windmill. A family of them were nesting in the ruins.

The path to the beach

The path to the beach

We followed the path down to the nearest point of the beach.

Where Clavious has just been filmed

Where Clavious has just been filmed

When we arrived at the beach, some carpenters were disassembling shacks in the pine and eucalyptus groves behind the beach that were built for the shooting of the film Clavius which is being filmed in the province.

The nearest point of the beach to San Jose

The nearest point of the beach to San Jose

We walked the length of the beach from here to the end of the bay.

The centre of the beach

The centre of the beach

The far end

The far end

A few sunbathers and swimmers were scattered among this beautiful long stretch of sand.

Margaret and Blanquita relaxing

Margaret and Blanquita relaxing

We enjoyed a couple of hours relaxation before returning.

The landscape and mountains behind Playa de los Genoveses

The landscape and mountains behind Playa de los Genoveses

The clear autumn light was beautiful and countryside fresh after recent showers.The mountains behind the beach are always dramatic.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Flora

Green landscape of the Vall de Rodalquilar with the old castle and Urginium Maritima flowers in the foreground

Green landscape of the Vall de Rodalquilar with the old castle and Urginia Maritima flowers in the foreground

Here in the Cabo de Gata, autumn rains have broken the longest drought for decades, transforming the parched, ochre landscape into an oasis of green.

Narcissus serotinus

Narcissus serotinus

There is plenty to delight lovers of botany, not least the gorgeous white Narcissus serotinus ….

Autumnal squill

Autumnal squill

…. and pretty autumnal squill.

Carpet of Narcissus serotinus looking out to sea

Carpet of Narcissus serotinus looking out to sea

In previous years, I’ve only ever come across isolated examples of these bulbous plants, but this year, thanks to the rain, they are flowering in profusion. On the fossilized dunes at Playazo, Rodalquilar, there are carpets of narcissi – a lovely sight.

DSC00240a

Flowers of Urginea maritima

The shrubby violet, V.arborescens, has made an appearance and will be flowering until spring, and all over the Cabo de Gata Urginea maritima, a conspicuous and striking plant consisting of a single, tall spike clustered with starry white flowers, can be seen.

Rambla Aires de Las Negras

Rambla Aires de Las Negras

All the aromatic herbs – lavender, thyme, artemisia – reduced to withered stumps by the fierce summer sun, have miraculously sprung back into life, cloaking the mountainsides with green.

Wild asparagus

Wild asparagus

The wild asparagus, thickly covered with scented white flowers, is putting up tender green shoots. These are edible and this weekend people were out gathering them.

DSC00230a

Flowerts of autumnal squill

Showers are brief in this part of Almeria and are punctuated by bursts of brilliant sunshine which illuminate the mountains and the sea, creating a wonderful spectacle.

El Valle de Rodalquilar

El Valle de Rodalquilar

The Cabo de Gata is always beautiful but, at this time of year, it can be seen at its best.

Urginea Maritima in the Rambla Aires de Las Negras

Urginea Maritima in the Rambla Aires de Las Negras

The photos were taken today in El Valle de Rodalquilar and La Rambla Aires de Las Negras which runs below our house.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The First Ebike Holiday in the Cabo de Gata

Some of the group on the coastal path

Some of the group on the coastal path

It was Sean Popplewell, a regular visitor to the Cabo de Gata from Ireland, who came up with the idea. Earlier this year he suggested to me that I should put together a cycling tour of the Parque Natural using electric bikes. I was apprehensive at first because I thought that bike tours usually covered a much larger area, staying in a different town or village each night. Nevertheless, I put together an itinerary staying 3 nights in San Jose, 4 nights in Las Negras and routes to explore the beautiful, beaches and scenery of the Cabo de Gata.
Reliable electric bikes were difficult to source but I found a German – Felix – based in Granada who rented out top of the range Swiss built Flyer bikes which, though expensive, are well built and sturdy enough to cope with a week’s hard use.
Olivier Vander Elst, who has a business in Dublin, GreenAer, selling electric bikes, marketed the holiday to his client base and was able to put together a small group of 11 who arrived here on the 30th September, including himself.

The track above Las Presillas

The track above Las Presillas

The first two days were sometimes cloudy and quite breezy. This suited the cyclists as it gave them a chance to get used to the warmer climate in Southern Spain before the arrival of uninterrupted sunshine for the final five days. On the first day I took them up to the little village of Las Presillas Altas above Los Escullos. From here I sent the most intrepid up the sandy and rocky rambla to Las Presillas Altas and back while the rest enjoyed a leisurely nature walk.

The group at La Isleta

The group at La Isleta

We then cycled down to the little fishing village of La Isletta for a lunch of fried fish and calamares. On the way back some of the group, led by Olivier, took the coastal route back to San Jose. This challenging track is steep and rocky in places but they were rewarded with some wonderful coastal scenery.

The track to Genoveses beach

The track to Genoveses beach

The rest returned via the road to San Jose. As they arrived at the village before the others, I took them over the hill to the fabulous Genoveses beach for a swim. It was a good day’s introduction to the Cabo de Gata and Olivier and I were able to assess the capabilities and wishes of the group members.

On Monsul beach

On Monsul beach

On the second day we made a longer trip along the coastal path from San Jose to the Faro de Cabo de Gata and then along the coastal road to San Miguel. We cycled past Genoveses beach and stopped at Playa de Monsul. I told the group about the films shot here, including the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Sean Connery and Harrison Ford. We then ascended along the track to its highest point at Cerro de Vela Blanca and dropped down to the lighthouse at Faro de Gata, the south eastern tip of Spain.

Las Sirenas

Las Sirenas

On one side are the jagged rocks of Las Sirenas and to the other we looked along the flat coastline towards Almeria.

La Iglesia de Las Salinas and the beach at Almadraba.

La Iglesia de Las Salinas and the beach at Almadraba.

Along the coast we stopped for lunch and a swim at Almadraba, looked around the church, Iglesia de Las Salinas and the salt workers’ cottages where the award winning Spanish film, Vivir es Facil, was shot.

Inside the hide

Inside the hide

We looked at the flamingoes on the salt flats through a hide and finally stopped at the beach of San Miguel de Cabo de Gata with its colourful fishing boats and shacks.

Flamingoes

Flamingoes

The group split for the return journey. Some took the track behind the salt flats and went back along the coastal cliff tracks while the rest took the easier option of returning by road.

Olivier and Jim on the coastal path from San Jose to Los Escullos

Olivier and Jim on the coastal path from San Jose to Los Escullos

On the third day the group transferred from San Jose to Las Negras. The hotels took care of the luggage transfer so the bikers could cycle to Las Negras.

El Playazo

El Playazo

They stopped at Rodalquilar for lunch and then went down to the beach at El Playazo for a swim. I met them here and escorted them to the Hotel Cala Grande in Las Negras.

Cycling through the fields of Cortijo de Los Frailes

Cycling through the fields of Cortijo de Los Frailes

The group posing in front of La Ermita de Los Frailes

The group posing in front of La Ermita de Los Frailes

The next day we followed the tracks between Las Hortichuelas and Rodalquilar exploring the ruins of Cortijo Montana and on to Cortijo and Ermita de los Frailes, the old mine workings used as a set for the soon to be released blockbuster Exodus, Planta Denver gold processing works before lunch again at Rodalquilar and a swim at El Playazo.

Brigitte and Beatrice recovering in the square at Nijar

Brigitte and Beatrice recovering in the square at Nijar

The following day, Sunday, we headed inland along the road to Nijar. After relaxing with a drink in the main square, the group split again.

Jim, Dave and Olivier at Huebro

Jim, Dave and Olivier at Huebro

Some of the group returned to Las Negras ro spend the afternoon on the beach while the rest went on up a steep, winding road to the mountain village of Huebro. Here the annual fiesta was in full swing.

Brigitte and dave dancing in the square at Huebro

Brigitte and dave dancing in the square at Huebro

A group was playing in the square below the church, stalls and makeshift bars had been set up all around and some of us who made the steep ride up danced amongst the locals.

an old photo I took of Las Totobias when we lived there

An old photo I took of Las Totobias when we lived there

On the final full day we rode from Las Negras to Agua Amarga but instead of following the road we turned off before Fernan Perez and followed the tracks across the estepa. I know these well as we lived here for 20 months before we moved down to Las Negras. When we stopped by our old home, Las Totobias, the group seemed amazed that we could live in such an isolated location but we loved it.

The beach at Agua Amarga

The beach at Agua Amarga

At Agua Amarga a swim off the beautiful beach was followed by lunch and returning to Las Negras we took the easier route and followed the road.

San Pedro

San Pedro

Their flight back to Dublin was on Tuesday afternoon so I suggested that a good morning’s activity would be to walk along the cliffs from Las Negras to San Pedro, relax and have a swim there and catch the water taxi back. There is no regular boat service particularly out of season but I found the skipper in a bar during the morning and asked him to pick them up from San Pedro. Readers of this blog will be familiar with San Pedro but to the people in the group who walked there it was a revelation.

Posing along a track

Posing along a track

The holiday was a great success. Everybody enjoyed the excursions, the evenings were fun, the group got on well with each other and the people of Las Negras.

Outside El Brindi Negro, Las Negras

Outside El Brindi Negro, Las Negras

Certainly the bar and restaurant owners liked the group. We must do this again. Perhaps Spring next year when the wild flowers are in bloom. The photos are a mixture of ones taken by me and members of the group plus a few from my archives.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ebike holiday in the Cabo de Gata

E bike in a lane in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata

E bike in a lane in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata

Earlier this year we mentioned that a small group from Ireland asked us to organize a holiday in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata using electric mountain bikes to explore the area. We are pleased to confirm that this holiday is going ahead. The dates are 30th September – 7th October. The first three nights will be in San jose staying at the Hostal El Dorado, http://www.hostal eldorado.com and the last four nights at Hotel Cala Grande, Las Negras, http://www.calagrande.es. We can offer a cheaper accommodation option at Las Negras basic apartments. The bikes will be Swiss made Flyer off road electric bikes.

Swimming pool at Hotel Cala Grande

Swimming pool at Hotel Cala Grande

Each day there will be excursions with guide around the Parque Natural. If any body from Spain or other countries would like to join the group we  can accommodate a few more people. Contact dig merry@gmail.com.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment